Ultrasound examinations have never been shown to damage patients or babies. Unlike the x-ray, ultrasound does not utilise ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses high-frequency sound waves that makes it safe for you and your baby. By use of ultrasound, we can examine various aspects of your pregnancy, such as:
- the size of the baby,
- how well the baby’s heart works,
- how well other organs (such as the spine, brain and kidneys) are growing,
- the anticipated date of birth.
As any other medical imaging techniques, ultrasound is not a perfect science. In obstetrics, the limits of this technique is highly dependent on the age of the baby, your body composition, and the position of your baby within the womb. In addition, the quality of ultrasound examination is extremely dependent on the ultrasound equipment, the expertise of the sonographer carrying out the ultrasound scan, previous abdominal surgery (ultrasound will be less clear when the mother’s abdomen is thick or scarred) and the physician who interprets your exam.
By ultrasound, experienced physicians can detect many, though not all, abnormalities. However, unfortunately, certain abnormalities cannot be detected by ultrasound at all due to their nature. Finding an abnormality depends on many factors, including the age and position of the baby, as well as the size and type of abnormality. Hence, we need to emphasize the importance of a proper blood test for screening the most common developmental disorders. At the ICU Studio, we can offer both the Harmony Prenatal Test and the “Quad test” for screening purposes.
Harmony Prenatal Test is an accurate and reliable test that specifically targets the DNA in chromosomes 21, 18 and 13. While rare, these are the most common chromosomal abnormalities that occur in babies born to women of any age, when no other risk factors are known. While traditional blood tests can miss as many as 15% of Down syndrome cases in pregnant women, the Harmony Prenatal Test’s DNA-based technology accurately identifies more than 99% of cases.